The Italy/Greece trip was quite possibly the best 2 1/2 weeks my life! I go to see incredible Biblical sites, be encouraged by the strength of refugees, become close friends with the people of Montebelluna, & develop lifelong friendships with everyone on the trip. God taught me, convicted me, and brought me closer to Him. I truly am so blessed to have this opportunity!

I learned so much through this trip, far to much to put in one blog post, but I thought I’d share what I learned in Greece.

Most of us have heard the phrase “break my heart for what breaks Yours, God”. I can say with confidence that this trip is the first time I’ve truly understood that. Seeing the oppression that the Greek Christians endure, learning of the horrors the Syrian refugees experience, and seeing the utter darkness that is present in Greece has broken my heart. This is a country that people flock to for a vacation in paradise, but these tourists have no idea what a broken and hurting country it is. The Christians in Greece feel alone and stranded. They are isolated, called heretics, and endure constant government oppression. The rates of human trafficking, drug and alcohol abuse, and abortions are sky high. Yet most people just notice the beautiful beaches of Santorini. But there is hope! Organizations like the Cosmovision Center and HomeSpot are providing important services to the incoming refugees. These services are provided out of their heart for the Lord. The Greek people may be lost in darkness, but time and time again the incoming refugees are able to find peace and security in Jesus! It’s amazing to see how God is using such a hurting country to spread light.

“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor. 12:10

God uses weakness for His glory; so that when beauty and strength are bred from those hardships, there is no doubt that it is God’s strength, not human strength. What’s happening in Greece is equal parts heartbreaking and encouraging. God is using a lost country to bring the refugees to Him! He is using the believers who are willing, and even joyful, to suffer for His sake!

The main prayer request for Cosmovision and HomeSpot is for workers. They need willing hands and hearts to come along side and provide support. It’s a task that requires much sacrifice but yields the greatest reward.

Thank you to everyone who prayed for safe travels! Again, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude that I got to go and learn about all God is doing in both Greece and Italy.

Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world who do not have the blessing of religious freedom as we do! It is too often taken for granted.

In Him,
Emily Smith

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